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EFTA Pursuing New Free Trade Pacts

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

01 April 2011


The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) has announced the commencement of free trade negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina, and discussions for a further free trade agreement with a consortium of Central American countries, with an exploratory meeting held on March 23.

In a statement on March 29, EFTA, comprising Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, said that it had had a productive first round of free trade negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina, with both parties in agreement that a pact should include measures to bolster intellectual property rights and remove a number of tariffs on goods, to boost trade and investments. During the two-day meeting, all parts of the draft agreement were discussed and significant progress achieved, EFTA said, disclosing that further meetings are to be scheduled before mid-2011.

Earlier, on March 23, EFTA discussed the prospect of freer trade with Central American nations Panama, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Hondurus.

In an exploratory meeting the parties explored the possibility of establishing closer trade relations between the two regions. In this context, they exchanged views on macroeconomic issues, their respective trade relations and policies as well as approaches to trade agreements. They agreed to further discussions in the near future.

According to EFTA, the four-nation bloc’s top exports to Central America include: machinery and mechanical appliances; pharmaceutical products; optical, medical and surgical instruments and mineral fuel/oils. EFTA imports mainly: fruits and nuts; ships, boats and floating structures; coffee, tea, maté and spices; as well as precious stones and metals.

TAGS: free trade agreement (FTA) | Bosnia and Herzegovina | Iceland | law | intellectual property | tariffs | trade treaty | Liechtenstein | Norway | agreements | Costa Rica | Guatemala | Switzerland | trade | El Salvador | Panama

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